Missing your connecting flight

The “helicopter parent” may be coming back to earth, or so this longish TIME piece hypothesizes. As readers may know, helicopter parents hover over their children pretty much 24/7. Such a parent might hire tutors to correct a 5-year-old’s “pencil-holding deficiency,” throw out the swing set so Johnny doesn’t hurt himself, demand that nursery schools teach Mandarin to give little Sarah a leg up, or, in the worst case scenario, ghostwrite the kids’ homework assignments. But as with so many things in education that get carried too far, the pendulum may be swinging back. We now learn of “free-range” parenting, obviously meant to make us think of chickens allowed to peck for worms and bugs rather than being confined in airless coops. Yes, kids need some freedom to be kids and yes, too many parents have been way too “involved.” But children also need structure, discipline and protection. Extremes in child-rearing are never a good thing. 

The Growing Backlash Against Overparenting,” by Nancy Gibbs, TIME Magazine, November 20, 2009